The Uvalde, Texas community has again experienced a tragic shooting incident involving children. This past Thursday, Uvalde police officials confirmed a 17 year old and an 18 year old were shot and wounded in a shooting in Memorial Park. The shooting took place just two miles from Robb Elementary School, the site of the May 24 mass shooting where19 fourth graders and their two teachers were shot and killed.
Governor Abbott’s response to last week’s shooting, similar to the Uvalde massacre in May, fails to actually address the gun violence epidemic in Texas: pandering to the gun lobby, calling in state troopers to address what he calls gang violence, implementing no meaningful solutions, and ignoring the role of guns flooding Texas streets, all while refusing to seek common sense solutions that gun violence survivors, gun safety advocates, and key public safety stakeholders have been asking him to implement for years. Over the past three years, since the mass shooting in El Paso, Texas Governor Greg Abbott has refused to take action to stem Texas’ gun violence crisis, instead working to dismantle the state’s few existing gun safety protections and putting Texas families and communities at further risk.
This latest shooting shows once again the need for a comprehensive approach to gun violence in Texas, with policies like raising the age to purchase and possess firearms to 21 years old, which the Governor refuses to consider. Eighteen- to 20-year-olds commit gun homicides at triple the rate of adults 21 years and older.
“The Uvalde community continues to mourn and cope with the murder of 19 young children and their 2 teachers,” said Dr. Roy Guerrero, founder of Uvalde Strong for Gun Safety. “This tragic shooting activates our collective trauma, and reups our call for comprehensive gun reform.”
“The Uvalde community and our children continue to be traumatized by gun violence,” said Jose Alfaro, Director of Latinx Leadership & Community Engagement at Everytown for Gun Safety. “As students in Uvalde, and across Texas returned to school this week, this act of violence highlights our call for comprehensive gun violence reform. Governor Abbott’s response, calling for anti-gang measures in a majority Latinx community, is a shortsighted, piecemeal approach toward addressing the true issue, the easy access to firearms under his administration’s watch. While the Governor is quick to criminalize Latinx youth, he has been intentionally slow to actually address the gun violence epidemic within the State of Texas.”
Research shows that states with weak gun laws have higher rates of gun violence. To put an end to our country’s gun violence crisis, lawmakers at every level must prioritize common sense gun safety measures that will save lives.
Here’s where things stand in Governor Abbott’s Texas: /Texas continues to lead the nation in both the number of people killed in mass shootings since 2009 and the number of school shootings since 2012 / There have been at least eight additional hate crimes involving a gun across the state since the mass shooting in El Paso / In an average year, 3,647 people die and 5,556 more are wounded by guns in Texas ‘/Guns are the leading cause of death among the state’s youth population / Gun violence costs Texas $51.3 billion each year
Texas lawmakers cannot afford to ignore the majority of voters who support stronger gun safety laws. Instead of convening more meaningless, do-nothing special committees and spending millions to militarize schools, Governor Abbott and Texas lawmakers should take a cue from federal lawmakers and work across the aisle to implement real solutions that will help save lives. Some of those solutions include repealing permitless carry, requiring background checks on all gun sales, enacting a red flag law, regulating assault weapons and high capacity magazines, and raising the age to purchase a gun.
Additional statistics about gun violence in Texas are available here, and more information about the impact of gun violence on Latinx communities is available here. Everytown’s interactive gun law ranking tool which shows how Texas’ gun laws compare to those of other states is available here.